Legal Online Sports Betting In The United States
Legal online sports betting in the United States is undergoing a little bit of chaos. Internet wagering isn’t that old of an industry—the first bets took place in 1995—but the American version of sports betting has faced all sorts of legal challenges and difficulties with funds transfers. The state of Internet sports betting in America is in flux, with legislation being bandied about that would either tax and regulate Internet gambling of all forms or completely outlaw it.
There are plenty of misconceptions about betting on sports in America—in fact, there are many myths about online gambling in America in general. Sure, there are challenges that American gamblers must face at pretty much every stage of online betting, but most of the myths and misconceptions surrounding such betting are simply untrue.
Some people think that all forms of online gambling are illegal in the US. This is completely untrue. In fact, a few states are already setting up their own regulated gambling sites that players in their state can use. Others think that Internet betting sites are rigged to rip off their customers and that no one ever makes money placing online bets. Again, this is simply untrue.
All of us at LegalOnlineSportsBetting.com have had wins, big and small, on all sorts of online gambling opportunities, including online sports betting site. The legal sports betting sites we review here actually have faster payouts then any of the online casinos that accept U.S. players.
No one can tell you what the best legal online sports betting Website for Americans is, because each bettor has his or her own specific wants and needs. However, this is a list of the sportsbooks that we use. We’ve tried all of these guys, and all of our writers and employees gamble there with frequency. You can trust all of these sites, and they’re all happy to do business with Americans. Each of these sites has special deposit and withdrawal methods designed for American bettors.
Bovada.lv was created by worldwide gambling sensation Bodog to do business with the US gambling market. Bovada uses a legal loophole to get around the legislation that forced Bodog to close its doors to Americans.
Bovada offers essentially the same game lineup and deposit and withdrawal options as Bodog, with a few different deposit and withdrawal methods from that much-larger mega gambling site. Unfortunately, no players from New York, Utah, Washington or Maryland are allowed to join.
BetOnline is one of the fastest-growing sportsbooks for American gamblers for lots of reasons. BetOnline is especially popular among casual bettors, who don’t want to place massive bets or gamble on a huge variety of sports.
The special BetOnline Edge page helps gamblers handicap their own games and provides up-to-the-minute news on sports and competition. BetOnline has been in the betting scene for years, so you know you can trust their financial department for payouts and deposits.
5Dimes has been in the sports wagering business for a long time. With over a decade of accepting Internet bets under their belt, you can trust 5Dimes to do legit business. Another plus at 5Dimes is their early-morning lines; 5Dimes is known for posting odds before any other gambling site, so if you like to get a leg up on other bettors, make 5Dimes your home for sports wagers.
5Dimes is a sports wagering site, so don’t expect prop bets on reality TV or commodity futures. You will also be pleased to know that 5Dimes accepts all USA players no matter what state you live in. Plus, when you make the first deposit, you have the opportunity to get up to $500 in bonuses. This starts with a 50% bonus and then graduates to a 20% match.
SportsBetting.ag is another online sports betting site that’s been taking wagers for over a decade. SportsBetting.ag is known for its site-stability (claiming no outages in the past ten years whatsoever) and security, making another audacious claim that no customer’s information has ever been stolen through SportsBetting's financial offices.
The big draw at this site is their huge bonuses, but a wide variety of USA-friendly deposit methods and payouts and plenty of wagering options make it a good home for American sports bettors. On the negative side, we’ve noticed that lines come out a bit late (as late as noon for some sports), and that the Website itself is a bit overdesigned, leading to a chunky look that could use a makeover.
|Legal Sports Betting Sites||Sportsbook||Sportsbook Bonuses For U.S. Players||Visit Online Sportsbook|
|Bovada||50% Match Bonus Good To $250 Free||Visit Bovada Sportsbook|
|SportsBetting||25% Sign Up Bonus, Up To $900||Visit SportsBetting.ag|
|BetOnline||15% or 25% Reload Bonus; $900 Each!||Visit BetOnline Sportsbook|
|5Dimes||50% Sign Up Bonus, Up To $200||Visit 5Dimes Sportsbook|
Technically, it is not legal to bet on sports on the Internet in the US through online sportsbooks, thanks to existing laws that limit how bets on sports can be placed. However, no one has ever gone to jail for betting on sports. The Department of Justice has indicated that the government is only interested in shutting down illegal gambling operators, not busting individual bettors. So no, it is not legal to bet at online sportsbooks in America, but that doesn’t mean you’ll go to jail for it.
Since no person has ever done prison time for simply placing an online sports bet in the US (or any other type of Internet wager), it is safge to bet on sports on the Internet in America. The laws that exist are intended to keep organized crime from having any influence on organized sports, not to keep Joe Blow from dropping $50 or $100 on his favorite NFL teams. Yes, it is safe to place bets on sports on the Web in the US.
We can say firmly that it is not safe to own or operate a sports betting site in the US. The Department of Justice will go after and arrest anyone who owns or operates a sports gambling page on American soil. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again.
The simple answer to this is no—if you went to jail for making a sports bet in America, you’d be the first person in history to do so. Even in states that have specific laws banning Internet wagering, no one has ever gone to jail behind that legislation. The only time that fines are levied against illegal gamblers are when financial investigations take place. If the IRS audits you or you go through a divorce and your financial business becomes public knowledge, you may have to pay a fine for breaking existing laws against Internet sports betting in the United States.
Please take note that all of the sports betting sites we advertise and form partnerships with are incredibly discreet. In fact, we’re customers ourselves, and we’d never do business with a site that handed out our private details to any third party.
Sportsbooks use promotions just like land-based and online casinos. The idea behind these promotions is to attract new business with offers of free cash, merchandise, free sports bets, and even vacations and tickets to live sporting events. These are not a trick and should be collected by all bettors. Just make sure that you look at the details so that you know what you need to do before you cash out. See our page about online sportsbook bonuses for U.S. players for more information.
Sportsbooks try to hook new customers by offering them a bonus on their first deposit. These promotions usually take the form of a match bonus, meaning the book will match your deposit at a certain percentage and up to a certain amount—but there are terms and conditions that must be met before this bonus money is earned. Chasing first deposit bonuses in the US sports betting market is usually a losing proposition.
Think of a reload bonus as a first deposit bonus for a repeat customer. All the same terms and conditions apply to reload bonuses that apply to first deposit bonuses. Reload bonuses are usually not as lucrative as the big-name first deposit bonuses.
Rewards programs are among our personal favorites, as they have fewer terms and conditions than cash bonus offers. Rewards programs are like VIP clubs at traditional casinos—sportsbooks online that deal with US customers offer rewards points based on the amount of cash they wager. Rewards range from cash offers to merchandise to free bets, reduced juice, and just about anything else you can imagine.
There are four “online sports betting laws” that regulate Internet sports gambling in America: some specific pieces of legislation and some generic types of laws that restrict the ebb and flow of sports betting money and access to gambling sites at the state level. Here’s a look at the laws regulating sports bets in America.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was a weak attempt to update the 1961 Federal Wire Act, passed in the early 90s to address changes to sports and technology, not to mention gambling options. PAPSA stands in the way of regulation of sports betting at the federal level, but not at the state level, paving the way for states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania to open their own state-regulated sports betting American Websites.
The 1961 Federal Wire Act is the main piece of legislation that makes sports wagering in most forms illegal in America. The language states that any bet on a sporting even placed “over a wire” is illegal. That language is vague enough to include telephone lines, Internet connection, and even smartphone communications. The Wire Act has recently been revised to aim the target at owners and operators rather than bettors, and altered to allow states to sell lottery tickets online and offer skill and luck-based Internet gambling sites regulated at the state level.
There are about a half dozen states that have specific laws against Internet sports betting and other gambling. Check with a legal professional that knows your state’s penal code to find out if online sports betting is legal in your state. We are not lawyers and we cannot tell you whether or not your state or city is covered under anti-gambling laws, but we can give you a general idea of what the laws are.
Unfortunately, there is a few states that do have specific laws related to legal online sports betting in the United States. The states that ban online sports betting in the U.S. are Washington, Maryland, Nevada and New York. The laws in these states specifically mention the fact that online sports betting is illegal and there is a chance of getting in trouble if you decide to do so. If you live in these states and decide to say to hell with the bs laws, you can still do so, but you run a slight risk of getting in trouble. Not all of the USA online sportsbooks will accept players from these states, but there is a few that still do.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was another lame attempt to control American Internet betting by limiting the way financial companies can do business with known gambling sites. Credit card companies were a main target of the UIGEA, which means that sometimes credit card deposits from the US work and sometimes they don’t. American Express customers appear to have better success than VISA/Mastercard customers.
By using third-party funds transfer methods, American sports bettors and online gamblers can legally add and withdraw money to and from their online casino or sportsbook account. Some Americans can’t use their bank or credit cards to make deposits or get withdrawals, and if they don't want to wait up to 30 business days to get a paper check in the mail, they’ll need to take a look at one of the services listed below.
eWallets are like middlemen between your bank and any online retailer. PayPal is the most famous eWallet worldwide, but unfortunately for American customers, PayPal is not allowed to do business with sportsbooks or online casino sites. eWallets are reliable, offer instant transfers, and often have very small fees or no fees at all for using the service.
Prepaid cards branded like major credit cards, the kind that you buy with cash at gas stations, grocery stores, and big box retailers, are almost always valid methods for making deposits at Internet sportsbooks and casino sites. Check the sportsbook site you want to use to see what type of prepaid card you’re allowed to use before you commit to opening an account.
Wiring money around the world has been possible for decades, with two major players competing for the money wiring business. Money wiring comes with pretty hefty fees, but is often the only way an American can send or receive payments to or from a book or online casino.
As a last ditch effort, if you can’t use prepaid cards, wire transfers, an eWallets, or your traditional financial account, you can usually mail a check or have a check mailed to you. The problem is, this takes time, sometimes months in the case of large withdrawals.
Withdrawals from US-facing sports betting sites are essentially the same as deposits. Most sportsbooks and casinos prefer you to use the same withdrawal method that you used for your deposit, but you don’t have to work it that way. Basically, any of the above deposit methods are available for withdrawals, except that some sportsbooks will mail you a withdrawal check via courier rather than the standard postal service, which is faster, more reliable, and insurable.